For patients diagnosed with cancer and their families, finding an effective
treatment can be an arduous and emotional journey. Unfortunately, some
companies play on the desire to find a cure and then fail to deliver on
Websites touting personal cancer medicine are on the rise. They offer a
range of services from analyzing tumor tissue to determining person’s
cancer risk. While some may be beneficial, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) does not currently regulate these tests. Therefore, it can be difficult
to discern which ones have been proven to be effective.
To better understand the Internet marketing landscape, a team of researchers
led by Dr. Stacy W. Gray, a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute,
examined 55 websites that market personalized cancer medicine, individualized
cancer treatment or targeted cancer care. Of those, more than half (56
percent) were commercially sponsored. The remaining websites were backed
by academic institutions (20 percent), private institutions (15 percent),
and individual physicians (2 percent).
As Reuters reports, the researchers convened an expert panel of physicians
to help assess whether the
advertised cancer tests had enough evidence to support claims that they could treat cancer. Information was considered trustworthy if
it was supported by valid scientific evidence, such as large randomized
Overall, the experts concluded that less than one-third of the websites
promoting personalized cancer treatment sold tests that they would endorse.
Also concerning, the study revealed that the medical websites tended to
tout the benefits of their services far more often than they disclosed
“The take home message for patients and doctors is that they need
to be careful and critically evaluate what they see online,” Gray
told Reuters Health. “If patients encounter things online they’re
curious about, they should talk to their providers about whether those
tests are helpful.”
If you or someone you love has suffered from medical negligence, don’t
a San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage
for a free consultation.